If I hate my job, what should I do next? The answers you’ve been looking for

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If you find yourself saying “I hate my job” more often than you change your clothes, it might be time for a change.

Keep in mind that there is no perfect job. As we go through life, difficult situations at work or at home may make your worklife appear less rosy.

But life isn’t meant to be a burden. If you truly feel miserable in your work, there are ways to end the madness.

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I hate my job: your options for changing that

If the thought of your daily grind brings a sense of dread as you prepare for your workday, it’s important to remember you’re not stuck. You can make a change.

Sometimes the fear of change keeps us stuck in misery for months, years or even decades. But you are in control of your own destiny. You have choices.

Here are the things you can do to get our of your current rut:

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Do nothing

Some problems are temporary. Difficult projects, a poor economy, understaffing, or other problems outside of your control can make work seem unbearable at times. You may just have to ride things out a little longer. Personal problems can also be so overwhelming that everything seems like a chore. Once circumstances outside of work improve, you may find things aren’t so bad after all.

Continue to hate your job and regret not finding a new one

You don’t have to do anything about hating your job. You can continue to slave away and be miserable. Definitely not the path I would suggest, but everyone’s entitled to their choices.

Try to make work more enjoyable

This is a tough one, but there’s always something you can change in your environment to make unpleasant tasks go by faster. Listen to music when you work if possible, or reward yourself for finishing something unpleasant with a brisk lap or two around the office.

Give yourself an attitude adjustment

Changing the way you feel about your job is probably the hardest thing to do on this list, but it’s important. Even if you leave your job, chances are you’ll find yourself feeling the same way about your next one. If you approach everything like you don’t want to do it, you’ll hate doing it. Approach difficult tasks like a race to get to the tasks you enjoy. Do them first and get them out of the way. This way you can end your day on a high note.

Discover what lights you up and go for it

This takes time. Explore your interests, and assess your current skills. It’s easy to say “I hate my job,” but often harder to figure out what it is you really want to do. Invest in self-study and/or training before taking the plunge. If you know anyone with a career you admire, ask them questions about what it takes to do what they do.

Quit your job

If you’re in a stable financial position, what’s stopping you from leaving? You don’t have to spend your life miserable. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, don’t take the plunge until you have something lined up already.

Determining why you hate your job

The first step in this process is to figure out what you don’t like about your job and how you can change it. You’ll need to evaluate your situation and consider other factors.

Questions to ask yourself

Here are some questions to guide you in discovering where your unhappiness is coming from:

  • What initially attracted you to your job?
  • What changed in your workplace that makes it seem unbearable?
  • How did your job inspire you?
  • Does your career bring out the best in you?
  • Are you going through a personal situation that is making everything you do seem difficult?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally in five years and can you get there in your current career?

Other factors to consider

There are a variety of reasons you may be feeling unfulfilled in your current role. Other factors that can cause career dissatisfaction include:
  • Difficult or new boss or manager
  • Your coworkers
  • Salary and/or benefits
  • Growth opportunities
  • Environment or company culture
  • Overworking

I hate my job because of my boss

If you and your boss don’t see eye to eye, coming in to work everyday can be a drag. Employees often state bad bosses engage in behavior that undermines their value to the company such as micromanaging, refusing to make decisions and stealing credit for ideas.

But people come and go. Your boss may not be your boss forever, and there’s not much value to walking away from a position you enjoy because of a temporary problem. Before you turn in your notice, try something else instead.

Here are some suggestions for making your worklife more tolerable.

Be empathetic

Every human is flawed in some way, and bad bosses often have a host of insecurities that make them behave the way they do. When a manager is new, they often are overwhelmed with adjusting to a new company culture, correcting mistakes from before their time, or dealing with pressure from their managers. Practice putting yourself in their shoes every time they say something that doesn’t jive with you.

Consider your behavior

We can’t change other people, but we can change the way we respond. Evaluate the way you interact with your superiors and ask a trusted coworker for input to get an objective point of view. Often, there is something in us that triggers the treatment. But this isn’t always the case.

Talk to your boss

This takes courage, but sometimes you’ll find that bosses are receptive. Ask for a few minutes of their time, prepare your grievances in writing beforehand, and also have a plan to improve the relationship going forward.

I hate my job because of my coworkers

Some people just irritate you to no end. But is having a difficult coworker really a reason to leave an otherwise awesome role?

The tips for dealing with a difficult coworker should include the ones mentioned above. But before you do that, you need to determine if the ill feelings are mutual.

Here are some more tips to handle beefs at work:

Stay away

You don’t have to subject yourself to annoying people. Invest in a nice set of headphones and spend your breaks with people who don’t rub you the wrong way.

Explain your position

If a coworker is irritating you because they don’t agree with your ideas, try telling them how you came up with the idea. Sometimes misunderstanding can create friction.

Talk to HR or your supervisor

No one deserves to feel threatened, harrassed or abused at work. If you’ve talked the situation over with others and feel things are serious, don’t approach the person. Seek help.

I hate my job because of my pay and/or benefits

Crappy pay and benefits make it hard to stay motivated. But just sucking it up and coming to work everyday will leave you resentful. If you’ve been at your job for a year or more and haven’t gotten a bump in pay, it’s time to ask for a raise.

Benefits may not have as much wiggle room, but you can use the lack of benefits to ask for a bigger increase in pay. Here are a couple of pointers to ask for a raise:

Know what your work is worth

Research salaries online before coming up with a number.

Time your ask

Do it when things are relatively calm, when you’re not loaded with tasks.

Get a counteroffer

If you’re really serious about a pay increase, coming to the table with an offer from another company is often a surefire way to get what you want.

Ask for a raise

Here’s a sample script to help:

“I wanted to talk to you today about the possibility of a pay increase. When I began here, I was [insert quick description of job responsibilities.] Now, I’ve taken on additional responsibilities that include [name additional responsibilities.] Based on the contributions I’ve made and the going rate for someone in my position, I would like to know if you could look into this for me.”

I hate my job because of the lack of opportunities

As human beings, we are always learning and growing and changing. Sometimes we outgrow our jobs, or we begin to feel stuck. Lack of opportunities is the biggest reason employees feel unfulfilled.

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to stand up for yourself and ask for more. Here are some ways you can open up new doors in your worklife:

Ask for more or different responsibilities

Come up with a plan to approach your boss and ask for more. Prepare your ideas in writing.

Take a class

Tell your company about your plans in advance, and ask what kind of training is needed for you to either change positions or take on other responsibilities.

Make a plan to exit

Unfortunately, there are times when there just isn’t anything more for you to do. In that case, you have outgrown your job. Try your hand at some freelance or part-time work that includes the opportunities you lack at your current position before leaving so you know you can handle them.

I hate my job because of the environment

Annoyed by your office environment or culture? If your work environment is too noisy, cluttered or just not working for you, there is hope. If your company culture is less than hospitable, however, you will either have to grin and bear it or make a move elsewhere.

While these things won’t change the culture, try these tweaks to make working more bearable:

Get a good set of headphones

Sometimes all it takes is some good tunes to get your mind right. Invest in a set of good headphones, and listen to instrumental music while you work. Studies show instrumental music increases creativity.

Spend part of your workday on your feet

At one point, standing desks were all the rage. Now research is showing that standing all day can be detrimental to your health, as well. Instead of doing one or the other, try spending part of your workday standing up and use an adjustable desk that can go from sitting to standing.

Get out of the office and take a lunch

Feel like a prisoner in your job? Instead of eating at your desk everyday or in the breakroom, get outside and take a quick walk (weather permitting). Eat somewhere else. The change in scenery can give your brain the break it needs.

Clean your desk every morning before work and before you go home

A clean desk is a happy desk. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your environment, sometimes the problem is that you’re not taking care of it. This one simple trick can alleviate stress.

I hate my job because I work too much

If you’ve forgotten your children’s names and all your houseplants are dying, you’re probably working too much. Overworking is not only bad for your brain, it can ruin your relationships and your health as well. We were not designed to work 24 hours a day.

Here are some ways to combat overworking syndrome:

Create efficient systems for your work

Do you find yourself aimlessly jumping back and forth? All that task switching is hard on your brain. The best way to work involves some structure. Group similar tasks together, and don’t constantly check your email. Keep distractions at bay, and come up with systems to keep you focused.

Plan and schedule

If you don’t create a plan, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of everyone else. Make a list of what you need to accomplish for the day first thing in the morning. While interruptions and changing priorities are inevitable, having a plan allows you to get back on task quickly and keep track of your progress.

Ask for help

If you really feel like you have too much on your plate, go to your supervisor. Explain what’s going on and ask for input. They may help you shift things around or prioritize better.

6 Terrible reasons to stay at a job you hate

Finding a new job is hard work. But staying isn’t always the best option. Here are the worst reasons to stay:

1. I feel secure

Security is really only an illusion. While it’s nice to know what you’ll be doing from one day to the next and how much you’ll be paid, complacency keeps you from growing.

2. I know what I’m doing

Taking risks and pushing your skills to the limit keeps things from getting stale. Just like feeling secure, being good at what you do keeps you stuck.

3. I’m too old

Age really is nothing but a number. Why not take your extensive experience and professional contacts to start a new business?

4. I like my coworkers

People come and go. It’s nice to work somewhere when you get along with everyone. But don’t let it keep you from growing.

5. I don’t have another option

That is your fear talking. It’s simply not true.

6. It’s too hard to find another job

Yes, it may take some time and effort to find another job. But aren’t you worth it?

How to quit your job respectfully (and the right way)

If you’ve decided that it’s time to say sayonara to your job, it’s time to prepare.

Here are the most important things to have in place before walking out the door:

Have your finances in order

Before you leave, you need to evaluate your situation if you don’t have a new job in place. Make sure your bills are caught up and spend a few months paying down as much debt as you possibly can. The pressure of having to pay your bills might make you settle for less. If you’re starting a business, experts suggest saving three to six months of living expenses. Some people disagree, however, and start a business with no savings.

Set exit goals & a deadline to quit by

Don’t be ruled by your emotions. Set up goals for yourself. Write down the top things you need to have done and when you plan on quitting.

Give your proper notice

Put it in writing. Don’t criticize; just state that you have found new employment and when your last day of work is.

Here’s a simple letter template you can customize for your needs:

Dear X,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you as [job title]. Unfortunately, I have decided that I am ready to move on to new opportunities. Please accept this as my letter of resignation.

My last day of work will be [date]. In the meantime, I will be available to help train my replacement.

I appreciate all the lessons I’ve learned with [company name] and I wish your organization nothing but the best.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Next steps for finding a new job

It’s easier to find a new job before you leave your old one. Here’s how to find your next career.

Evaluate your needs/wants in a new job

Make a list of everything, and then separate them into what you must have, and what you want. Don’t settle for less.

Refer back to factors from above

Use your list during your job search. While some of these things won’t be available on job descriptions, you can quickly rule out what doesn’t fit the bill.

Polish your resumé

Focus on your accomplishments, and get as much help as possible when updating or creating one.

Put yourself out there

Attend job fairs and let your friends know on social you’re in the market. Plan to spend as much time looking for a job as you did working if you’re leaving without having a new job in place.

Reach out to companies you want to work for

Aim for quality, not quantity. Contact the HR manager and ask for an informational interview if nothing is available. Also see if departments hire freelancers. Sometimes this is the best way to get your foot in the door.

Wrapping it up

Everybody hates their job at one point or another. But you’re not powerless. Evaluate why you’re unhappy and take the necessary steps to change. Or just keep saying “I hate my job” and continue to be miserable. If leaving your job is the only way you think to resolve the situation, follow the tips above.

What did you do to find happiness at work? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.

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